Suffering and Bloody Smiling #BokoHaram

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I remember when I was little and I watched all the bombings in Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan, I used to wonder how people still lived in those countries. And after watching one car explosion after another on CNN, I started asking my father why the countries weren’t empty.

In my head, I pictured all the war movies I had seen and I thought they were all lining up at the borders…fighting to get away as the whole country exploded behind them. But now I know better. I didn’t understand because I grew smarter, but because, well, I live it. Most days. Or every month at least.

Nigeria, my country, is now a place where bombings have become the routine. I remember the first time I heard about a bombing in Nigeria. I thought it was some sort kind of mistake and that it happened on the border or something like that, but definitely not Nigeria. I mean, the logic is that we love ourselves way too much to consider suicide.

Anyhow, we all wrote it off as some sort of fluke, those random unexplainable actions of a person or persons that was most likely not really Nigerian and that it would end as suddenly as it started. But it only got worse. Boko Haram went from a dreaded name, to a joke because that’s us, we kind of turn everything to a joke. I suppose jokes are easier to handle, especially for those of us that don’t live or work in the North or have family up there.

It was basically, just you all keep it right above the 1914 amalgamation line, and we’re all good. But it’s really not…all good!

I actually wonder what people think when they hear about Nigeria now. Will they know that we still go to school or work everyday as if nothing happened and no one declares mourning days for those blasts anymore? And that we live our lives quite normally and that things go on as if its all fun and games while our only reactions to the blasts would probably be a tweet or two with maybe a sad face smiley?

Yes, of course we’re all clamoring to leave, not as dramatically as I imagined as a child, but in an equally desperate way?

We’re all living in denial. It might be hard for us to reconcile our image of one people, great nation, beautiful Nigeria, blah blah with that of a war-torn middle-eastern country, but we’re quite close in my opinion, and if we’re not careful, we’ll get there…if we are not already there.

Truth is, we’re a lot like those countries. I mean there’s the rot, the corruption and of course the clueless leader the whole world, including us ridicules.

I was born in Kano State. I lived there till I was 11. My father is a Muslim and I have Muslim friends. This problem has gone beyond religion and states of origin. We have all simply stopped caring for our fellow humans. We have become numb and now simply shrug and move on. After all, we have our individual problems, Each person to his own. And if a group of people keep killing themselves or others somewhere, its their business. As far as its not people I know personally or in my backyard. Sounds good. But remember, one day, they’ll be through with the North, and they will cross that line. And then we’ll see how silent everyone will be.

So sit there and say stupid things like “If Nigeria no spoil, who go hammer.”
We all just have to say No. Together. Muslim, Christian, North and South. Rich and Poor. Both those that can afford to run out of the country when shit gets real, and those who can’t. Let’s be our brother’s keepers. Not just with prayers. We’ve prayed quite enough I think, now is the time to simply refuse to sit by, close our eyes and watch our fellow Nigerians get slaughtered.

I like Nigeria…I really want to be proud to be a Nigerian. Nigeria a nation filled with people who stand up for others despite their differences, people who can see past religion and petty ethnicity. People who can feel empathy. Not just numb, suffering and smiling people. Because it seems that’s what we do these days. Suffer and bloody smile about it.

Let’s stop smiling and start acting!

Article written by RED…

Approximately 20 years ago, RED crashed into planet Earth from Mars. She was meant to crash into yankee, but somehow ended up in Nigeria. She has no regrets being in Nigeria, but fights actively against the decay and rot in Nigeria especially in its Universities. To be honest, RED cannot really fight…cause she loves peace. So instead of fighting she writes and uses her words as a weapon to create change in Nigeria. And she won’t stop typing until…



Author: Ofili

Words by Okechukwu Ofili of
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12 comments on “Suffering and Bloody Smiling #BokoHaram

  1. zainab on said:

    red welldone,i agree with you.we should stop d ‘siddon look’ attitude in this country and grab our future in our hands.before its snatched away by d nigeria.God help us.

  2. Donald on said:

    Nice piece! My dear, our beloved country is doomed and that’s a bitter pill we all have to swallow now or someday

  3. Sadly this is Nigeria. Writing Changes Noting. I hardly got past d 3rd line. Wake up smell the coffee ‘ this is naija ‘

  4. sholly on said:

    I shared the same thought with you red back then, how people(middle eastern) could live in such a place of chaos and go on with their daily activities, but now its like av hopped on a plane with no visa witnessing this horror in my own country. It will be wise of us to see beyond religion and think….
    Beautiful write up RED

  5. soluomba on said:

    There is fire on the mountain…………One day the river may overflow and there’ll be no where for us to go, and we will run wishing we had put out the fire on the mountain.
    Dear sleeping “Giants of Africa” how long are we to sleep on burning coals?

  6. Ben OT on said:

    It has taken less than 48 hours for the US security to ‘smoke out’ the Boston bombers. In Nigeria,we have no time to stand and stare as long as sheep and cows,……..and even spot where squirrels hide thei nuts in the grass. The Boko thing is by-product of years of injustice. It has ,like Vesuvius in Italy or the Chimborazo and Cotopaxi in the Andes suddenly exploded before our very eyes. Who will now bell the cat? Good write up RED,just that we may need to learn the hard way:if we will ever learn.

  7. Phew! I can’t help but commend RED on this write up. The part that sickens me is that we as a people have talked, written, raved and ranted about this issue and yet nothing has changed. Only seems to be getting worse! I empathize with fellow Nigerians suffering up north, but to be honest, I feel like its a lost cause trying to stop these guys! Their motives are far from merely religious or even political as I initially opined, but more ideological. Saddening how members of the same society can be indoctrinated with some weird, sick ideologies! Even the Amnesty/Dialogue approach being pushed by the government already is doomed to fail. How else can we as citizens deal with such? Some have even advocated that the president employ the tactics employed by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in the infamous Odi Massacre. I would be an honest liar to pretend I would not side with similar school of thought if asked my opinion on this matter.

  8. Today, I was listening to the radio and people were making jokes about Boko Haram.
    The other day on twitter, someone said Boko Haram is a Northern/Hausa/Muslim problem.

  9. Gbenga on said:

    Enough said abt d bombings and killings, what’s d way forward ? What can we as individuals do to change d situation, since our govt and security operatives have failed to stop the menace.

  10. Sun Sedek on said:

    Keep writing Red, your words are as real as you are. Alive and potent. Don’t even be discouraged because the power to change things belong to us. Nigerians. How? By striving to be One with like minded people such as yurself,people who believe in a better. Futuree and by performing our God given abilities well. Let’s start from there first. We’r not alone. Help is on the way.swiftly even Stay lifted.

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